Though the circumstances of his interactions with the Goblin Force prior had been less voluntary than they were now, it went without saying that a force of such great power would have been able to listen, to hear, someone in the monumental scope of the universe that was reaching out to them - willingly and without reservation. There had been others he could have turned to, could have attempted to seek out without such destructive aftermaths, but there was something else lurking in the background of a mind that desperately wanted to wake up.
One could argue survival and living one’s best life was the best revenge, but that didn’t stop violence. One could argue violence would only beget more violence, that an eye for an eye left the whole world blind, but an alternative point of view found fairness in such an retaliation. There had been enough time to dwell on such thoughts in the darkness of what was a mental Batcave. If he didn’t do something about it, would things get worse? If he didn’t do something about it, would it be someone else the next time? If he didn’t do something about it, what sort of super hero was he?
It was a timeless story, repeated over and over again: Traumatized teenager turns to the streets and meets someone, a menace to some and a welcomed hero to others, who gives their life purpose in a cape and a cowl, and where they go from there finds itself shaped by those enemies suddenly become their own and the imprints left behind; and sometimes, rules laid to maintain morality were made to be broken.
“Been a while,” he said when he sensed someone else in his mental space, missed by any security measures that might have been built in such a void in the event of someone far less welcome; but he had called her here. “And maybe another life, but that doesn’t really matter, does it?”
“I’m sure you can see I’m not exactly in the best shape,” Connor pointed out even without knowing the depths of how bad it really was on the other side of consciousness, an external pacemaker of foreign build stuck in his chest while he lay dormant in a hospital room, “and I had to turn to someone who could do something about it - even if I’m sure that doesn’t come free.”
Yeah, that had to be it.
Being called wasn’t something the Goblin Force was used to. Most people didn’t want it showing up at their houses, didn’t want to have it during a battle, didn’t want to do anything except run. So to be called, to be asked for was something entirely different for the Goblin Force.
She could have ignored it. There were a dozen other things on her mind to do, but to be called, to be asked for was so deliciously new that even if she wasn’t going to grant this person’s wish, she had to see what, exactly they wanted. Never one to undersell herself, even when called, she made sure that when she entered the mental space, it warped itself to suit her and Connor both: the magic washing it in a greenish glow, her form as truly demonic as suited her, eyes glowing gold as she regarded him.
He was right; in another life, they had met briefly enough, the Goblin Force had animated him once. And so had, curiously, the Phoenix Force. The magic told her about his weakened state, and if she concentrated more, she was sure she could astral project herself right into the hospital room. For now, though, here was enough.
“Oh, it most certainly does not come freely from me, you’re right about that,” Madelyne tapped a claw against her cheek, humming. “Magic never is, and revenge isn’t always a simple thing.” Her mouth twisted in a grim smile. Her own need for revenge a few weeks ago may have not gone exactly well for her, maybe it didn’t fix anything, but even in defeat, Madelyne was still herself, to her core. Still unwilling to be anything except herself, unwilling to back down from any instance to assist.
And, well. Flattered to have been asked. “But if my magic has touched you, I’m sure you also know that the last thing I’ll ever tell someone is to not pursue revenge. That I -- we -- view revenge as a right, an inevitability.”
Her smile grew larger, teeth sharp. “So: tell me who you want to take revenge on. How. And I’ll tell you the price to get that revenge.”
“It’s always the same answer, isn’t it? ‘The person who did this to me’,” Connor said rather plainly once he had eschewed what concern - perhaps even a shred of doubt - that he found in the wash of green and the demonic form that had come to stand in front of him. There had been one time where he had appeared similar, green and horned and teleporting around Boston in puffs of dark smoke - not unlike the mutant Nightcrawler, but with explosive arrows to take down the television stations and radio stations that had been responsible for broadcasting the work of Mojo. Granted, none of that had been their fault, but then again, what had they done to stop it.
Unfortunately, the ‘who’ of the matter was never so simple and he knew it would take some progression, some investigation, to get to the core of some criminal gunman on the streets. It was a root to pull, not a bud to nip, and it had done him no good to be stagnant for so long. All it had done, all it could do, was let the weeds grow.
“But I’ve no intention of stopping there because if they’re on the streets, so is he.” No, they hadn’t seen Joker in some time. Connor hadn’t even been sure he existed anymore beyond pocket dimensions and multiverses where he was still just as obnoxious and unyielding to death as he was in any universe, but if the hints he had gathered throughout the bleed through of dreams and memories suggested, there was someone behind it. “I can’t really do that in a hospital, tied up by a bunch of machinery that isn’t doing anything other than keeping me stuck here.”
Would it make him feel better? Maybe or maybe not. Would it be problematic and complicated? Of course it would - if it hadn’t been, he was sure some of his cohorts would have tackled their living demons long ago - but where Connor Hawke had been zen of mind, prone to sit and breath and think things through, it was Terry McGinnis that pushed now, and Terry had enough time sitting and breathing and thinking.
“And if it isn’t Joker,” Connor considered with a shrug, “it’ll be whoever is calling the shots.”
The determination he was showing, the concentration was impressive. Someone that bent on revenge, on their own path was admirable. Interesting.
Madelyne didn't mind that yes, this was the same as others bent on revenge, nor did she occupy herself with whatever damage this would wreck. It wasn't her business. Connor was set on it, he was asking her, and he was, after all, right. A broken body wasn't suitable for taking revenge out on others, and even if it wasn't really her business, she was curious about where this would go.
"I remember that Joker. Nasty little thing," her claws tapped her cheeks again, tail swaying behind her. "In any case, I have no qualms against granting your wish for revenge. You might be the only human brave enough to ask for our help before, and I find that amusing in and of itself." The plane around them shifted to the hospital room where Connor's body was lying, letting him get a good view of himself, of the machinery.
Her hand settled on his head, claws pushing the hair back from his face. "I'm also sure I don't have to tell you that this comes at a price. Sometimes I like asking for favors or items. Maybe your soul. But I don't have use for souls at the moment, and items, well. I don't know you well enough to ask. So for now: you owe me a favor. You won't know when I'll ask for it, you won't know the terms. The only thing is that you will have to do what I ask or your life is mine. Understand?"
The reaction was instantaneous surprise, both from being projected into the room he had no recollection of being moved into despite logical thought suggesting he was in a hospital once the ambulance had picked him up and from the device practically plugged into his chest, gaudy yellow and unignorable, something he hardly believed was facility mandated. “What the fuck is this?” He allowed it to fall right out of his mouth without second thought to filter - what did it matter anyway? - as he surveyed the damages while his ears kept on the dealings with the Goblin Queen.
“Only fair. I somehow knocked on your door,” he said of the exchange - a favor. No soul, which suffice to say would have been a little on the nose, and no items, since he didn’t very well know what he could give that magic couldn’t replicate in some part. Just a favor, and while there was no telling what that would be, he could at least expect it to be something he could manage - maybe, but it wasn’t like Terry to look a challenge in the face and not at least attempt to stumble through it.
And if he didn’t do that, there’d be a soul roped in at the very least.
“Understood,” he said curtly, looking back down at himself and the machinery he was hooked up to. Like some bad dream, he was going to be waking up into the nightmare of pulling everything off, mentally bracing himself for that even as his head popped up to look back at her. “One more thing,” he said, comedic timing courtesy of the other side. “Can we not with the horns this time? They get in the way of the suit.”
A snort of laughter left her at the very simple request of no horns. A reasonable enough ask, but still a funny one. "Since you asked so politely, sure. No horns."
Madelyne's eyes glowed brighter, a molten gold, the deal sealed now. "Terms accepted. Your body is going to be a little, shall we say, super charged for a bit once you wake up. Once you get your goal taken care of, it'll go away just like that. So use it wisely and most importantly: have some fun!" The cheery note in her words were gleefully sincere as the magic gathered around her, coiled and ready.
All it took was a simple magical push, the claw on Connor's prone form glowing green as the Goblin Force gleefully went to work. It wasn't white, good, clean magic; the very opposite in its usual malevolent intent, particularly when it fell upon a former host, however brief. Here, even in an altruistic moment, it kept that tinge of malevolence, working quickly to not just restore Connor's body to full function, but to tip him a little over the edge. Pushing the body with the promise that when he would wake, he'd be ready and more than able to seek revenge.
In a manner of seconds it was done, Madelyne pleased with her work, the machines starting to go haywire from the applied magic.
"Well, kid. Think it's time to get back into your body."
“Schway,” he exclaimed, stepping back with his arms crossed so she could do what she needed to as far as getting him up to his feet. How magic worked - well, he didn’t know since that wasn’t his forte. All he really needed to know was that it would work, and he would have a little bit of super charge to go with it - enough to get himself up and get some things in order to track down the clown who did this.
“See you on the other side.” The machines, he expected, would bring in a rush of medical personnel and he was gone as soon as the doors slid open, all but coughing and sputtering to try and get the tubes out of his body when he jolted up from bed, hunching over, fingers trying to grab at everything and seeing to reach nothing at the same time. As violent as it was urgent, he barely registered the nurses trying to get him to lay back down, elbowing one while another met a swinging kick of his leg that sent any sedative additive in tow scattering once she hit the ground.
Supercharged was right and in a matter of minutes, he found a more stable grip on the I.V., tearing it out before making as quick of work as he could on the ventilation tube down his throat until that too wasn’t holding him back; but there was more he was less accustomed to and Connor resigned the task to the medical staff, looking at the nurses and those who had come in on their call - part pleading, part caged animal just trying to get out of a corner.
“Can someone get this stuff off of me?”